We needed a home for soccer in this city. MLS was coming to Toronto, as was the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
That home became BMO Field, a 20,000 seat plus stadium on the shores of Lake Ontario. In seven years much has happened, and a new chapter begins on Tuesday.
Toronto FC breaks ground on a renovations that will see the capacity at BMO rise 8,000 seats.
We take a look back at some of the more memorable moments in the history of BMO Field with a new chapter in the ground’s short life about to be written.
Danny Dichio in the 24th minute
Seat covers raining down on the pitch. It’s an iconic photo that doesn’t do the moment justice.
Promotional giveaways, especially those that can be modified into a frisbee, are risky, but they made the scenes on May 12, 2007 all the more special.
Dichio’s goal at the 23:13 minute mark against the Chicago Fire secured TFC’s first win in franchise history, leading to the famous song during the 24th minute at every home game by the club’s most ardent supporters.
The U-20 World Cup
Sergio Aguero, Arturo Vidal, Angel Di Maria, Gio Dos Santos, Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Jozy Altidore, Chicharito -- the list goes on.
A collection of young stars made a major impression in Toronto during the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Moments of controversy coincided with brilliant play on the field. In the end, Argentina, led by Aguero, Di Maria and Max Moralez led the South American giants to World Cup glory in the final, beating the Czech Republic in front of 19,526 fans at BMO Field.
Canadian bragging rights were on the line at BMO Field in 2011, with TFC entering the Voyageurs Cup final against the Vancouver Whitecaps after winning the competition in 2009 and 2010.
Lightning and unplayable field conditions led to the cancellation of the second leg in Toronto with the Whitecaps leading 1-0 on May 25th.
The replay took place on July 2nd with the score reset to 0-0. Goals from Joao Plata and Mikael Yourassowsky helped the Reds secure a 3-2 win on aggregate.
Vancouver got their shot at revenge one year later, but once again TFC prevailed, securing their fourth consecutive Canadian Championship.
MLS Cup 2010
BMO Field was the site of the final game of the MLS season, with the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas competing for MLS Cup glory on a cold and blustery day in late November.
The game marked the last time the MLS Cup final would be held a neutral venue.
Broadcast in 28 countries around the world, the game would be decided by an own goal by Dallas defender George John in extra time, handing Colorado the championship.
BMO Field has a penchant for creating the dramatic.
Canada beats Panama 1-0 during World Cup qualifying in 2012
Dwayne De Rosario's goal from a quick free kick in the 77th minute sent the denizens of BMO Field into hysterics. Atiba Hutchinson's quick thinking created the chance for De Rosario, who slotting the ball home for his 20th goal for Canada.
The win pushed Canada to the top of their qualifying group at the time. The return leg in Panama wasn't great for Canada, however. The lights at Estadio Rommel Fernandez went out for nearly 14 minutes, and when play resumed the Panamanians scored twice to beat Canada 2-0.
2014 Home opener vs. DC United
The buzz surrounding TFC was only strengthened by the club’s surprising 2-1 win in Seattle to open the season.
22,591 fans, the largest attendance in the club’s history, welcomed the Reds back to Toronto for their home opener at BMO Field.
TFC’s three designated players, Michael Bradley, Gilberto and Jermain Defoe, combined for the game’s only goal at the one hour mark. They held on for the 1-0 result, marking the first time the Reds started a season 2-0.